The Grace of Organisation: Lessons From Mary & Martha.

#TalkingThursday – If you don’t talk about Jesus who will?

An important part of living a balanced life is managing how we spend our time. Each of us gets 24 hours a day. 24 might seem like a small number, but it’s really 1440 minutes. There’s a lot we can get done in 1440 minutes. So why is it that we never seem to be meeting up with our goals?

How much time do we allocate to each area of our lives – God, family, work, exercise, sleep, service, relaxation and so on. What activities take up too much of our time? How can they be made more efficient? What activities need to be scaled back? Where do we feel time-pressed and why?

As Christians, staying organized is often our biggest struggle. We fight every day to find a balance between several priorities, which can be put in these 3 boxes:

Box 1. Spending time with the Lord (devotion, secret place, whatever else you call it)

Box 2. Spending time serving the Lord (aka. “good works” – Charities, homeless, evangelism)

Box 3. Everything else (school, parenting, chores, entertainment etc).

By studying the story of Mary and Martha in Luke 10:38-42, we gain fresh insight on how the Lord empowers us with great grace to balance our various priorities.

Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”

– Luke 10:38-42 [ESV]

This blog post will be divided into two parts: a commentary on the verses and lessons learnt from the passage.

Part 1: Commentary/Analysis of Verses.

  • Make Not The Lord A Lonely Guest: Martha opened her home to Jesus but spent no time with Him. Jesus was a lonely guest. How many of us open our hearts to Jesus, yet are unable to spend time with Him? We make our Lord and Savior a lonely guest when He desires to be our closest family and friend. Martha’s sister Mary, on the other hand, “sat at the Lord’s feet” (a sign of her humility) and paid attention to what He taught. She was spending time with Him. What good is it to have a guest in your home but spend all your time away from Him and what He has to say? Devotion is the true mark of accepting Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. Learn to spend time at the feet of Jesus and everything else will fall into place.
  • Are Your Interests In Biblical Order?: In vs 40, Martha was entirely focused on her preparations. So focused in fact, that she wanted Jesus to send Her sister, Mary to join her. Martha basically scolded Jesus, asking whether He cared that she was left to fix the meal all alone. You see, Martha’s interest in preparations caused her to miss the peace Mary enjoyed at the feet of Jesus. She chose preparations over peace. Her interests were not in the right order! Like Martha, are you more interested in other things than listening to Jesus? Being organised means creating a schedule of priorities. Make sure your interests are in Biblical order! The kingdom of God comes first and then everything else (Matthew 6:33).

  • Distraction Is The Obstacle To Devotion: Martha’s preparations were important but in that moment, they were a distraction from what she really ought to be doing: spending time at the feet of Jesus. Martha was frustrated because she was doing the wrong thing at the wrong time. The moment was not for preparation but for devotion. We have to ask the Lord each day, for grace to do the right thing at the right time! And His “grace” will differ for each person.

    Martha’s story reveals that being distracted doesn’t always, come in the form of doing “useless things” or “meaningless entertainment”. Sometimes, the things that distract us are actually very relevant to our lives. Blessings from God can become a distraction from serving Him. Your husband or children can become distractions from spending time with the Lord. Perhaps they are the very thing keeping you disorganised. Even for the scholars/intellectuals amongst us, that job or scholarship the Lord gave you, have you become so obsessed with maintaining it that you have no time for Him anymore? Don’t let the gift distract you from the giver. Be devoted to the giver, not the gift. Pledge loyalty to the giver, not the gift.

    To bring this point to the 21st century, we see that our current lifestyles have caused some of us to develop “high tech habits”. This is a gift and a curse. High tech habits can make our lives more efficient, but they also affect our ability to remain organized. For example, we often spend time searching for important information online, only to end up deep in the black hole of the internet.

How many times have you gone online to look for “commentary on a bible verse” only to end up 3 hours later looking at stories on celebrity marriages/scandals, or the top 10 places to travel for cheap? without a visa? or even ended up on an internet gaming or porn website? or on facebook, twitter, instagram?

You must instil discipline deep into your core lifestyle to achieve a healthier life balance. Set limits for yourself on how much time you devote to each area. Set alarms that remind you to pray throughout the day. Download meaningful apps that aid your intake of God’s word. Use technology to add value to your life and boost your devotion to the Lord and His kingdom!

  • Focus On What’s Most Important: In vs 41– 42, Jesus admonished Martha for being “worried and upset,” not for making preparations. Serving is a good thing, but spending time with Jesus is best. Further, Jesus refuses Martha’s request to send Mary to help her because Mary had chosen, not just what was most important, but who was most important and that would not be taken away from her!  The reality was that whatever food Martha was making, Jesus could multiply it. He had fed multitudes with little. As long as HE was there, everything else would be settled. There would be no lack, so there was no need to be anxious and frustrated over preparations. Whatever they had would be sufficient in His presence.

    You stay organised by focusing on what is most important at the time. Have you put devotion to Christ first, or are you more concerned about preparations? In today’s context, this would be likened to being more concerned about doing “good deeds” and “charitable works” (e.g. feeding the homeless) while lagging behind in your spiritual life and relationship with God.

  • Choose True Service Over Mere Busyness: If you had stumbled upon Martha and Mary on this fateful day, you would have thought that Martha was the real Christian and Mary was a lazy Christian. Afterall, Martha was running around looking busy, while Mary was calm and collected doing nothing. Sometimes the person who is all over the place is not really doing the will of God. Meanwhile, those who are still and silent at His feet are strong in faith. We are radical when we choose true service over mere busyness. Yes, Martha was “busy” but Mary was truly serving. Don’t just look the part of a Christian; have the right attitude to match. Martha looked the part, but Mary had the attitude to match! Do you have the right attitude to match?

So dearly beloved, that’s where we end for today! I pray this has edified you in at least one way and I hope to see you next #TalkingThursday for the conclusion in Part II. We will go even more in-depth into the lessons we can gain from this passage and practical ways to apply them to our daily lives.



2 thoughts on “The Grace of Organisation: Lessons From Mary & Martha.

  1. Pingback: The Grace of Organisation: Lessons From Mary & Martha [Part II]. | The Gossip 4 Jesus Initiative

  2. Pingback: The Grace for Obedience: Lessons From The Garden Of Gethsemane. | The Gossip 4 Jesus Initiative

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